Make no mistake about it: life on Wall Street may never be the same after the events of recent weeks--and your career may be affected by the trickle-down effects of this change in the American landscape.
If you are seeking a job in this market, be patient and cautiously optimistic - employers across multiple sectors still need employees; you'll just need to put deliberate effort into researching opportunities and positioning yourself for hire. The good news: there are great ways to leverage technology so that you can conduct an efficient and effective job search. I'll be sharing many of these strategies with you in the coming days, but today, I'd like to focus on "stereotypes."
Demographers, trend setters, and the press love to talk about generational characteristics by making use of stereotypes. Today, an enormous amount of press attention has been given to analyzing and understanding millennials; here's one press release comparing Gen Y attitudes on work to that of Baby Boomers circa 1982.
I feel particularly sensitive to coverage of Gen Y based on experience as a Gen X'er. I too, graduated from college in the shadow of an economic downturn. Reality Bites was the movie of the day, and the press had a field day characterizing "Gen X" as a unilateral group of slackers. I recall sitting in the lunchroom at my first job in DC with my colleagues: we took turns acting angry and disaffected and mocking Saturday Night Live: "I'm angry, I'm just really angry," one person would say. "I don't know why, I just am. Everything makes me angry." We laughed, and then we went back to work. In reality, we were happy--unless we had to travel for work and give away our Nirvana tickets. We worked hard to prove to our employers that we weren't like the stereotypes, and we were rewarded when our organization moved to a generous employee incentive plan with quarterly bonuses.
While my colleagues and I chose to work hard to avoid being compared to our generation, it's easier to make it work for you.
Over at Fast Company, my friend Lindsey Pollak discusses "Why Your Company Needs Millennials: 5 Reasons to Love Gen Y Workers." Lindsey does a great job of addressing stereotypes and providing tips on how many of the negative buzz frequently used to label millennials can--and should--be reframed in a positive context. My suggestions: read and re-purpose her suggestions for marketing your own skills--or counteracting complaints about "your generation."
As for myself, I can only say my life has been vastly improved by using the tools of the millennial trade: I'm off to hop on Facebook and continue planning my college reunion weekend with friends--given that we've been following each other's profile updates, playing games with one another and sharing pictures for months...there will be less "reunion stigma" than there was five years ago. I can't wait--especially since my college friends aren't yet into Twitter and we won't be texting each other to say, "She wore what?!"